True freedom does not come cheap. It is not licentiousness as so many people today believe freedom is. True freedom or liberty requires and is inseparable from personal responsibility.
There are threats to individual liberty in society. That is why eternal or ongoing, continuous vigilance is needed to protect and sustain personal liberty in society. The chief threat to liberty through history has been government. One recalls the adage by Thomas Jefferson to the effect that “When the government fears the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.” Alas, it has always been so in human society. Free people need to seek a healthy balance and strive to avoid harmful extremes. The absence of government would be anarchy and chaos. (The anarchists’ dream is a destructive nightmare that must be rejected.) Government’s drive for power and control left unchecked produces totalitarian states where the citizens are not free, and the government is capricious, despotic and tyrannical (even when the state claims it is acting on behalf “of the people”).
The answer to the question – Are people up to living free? – is: only if they are willing to make the effort to live responsibly and strive to safeguard their liberty. Those who do not have any personal morality, who have been demoralized through hedonism and moral nihilism, do not have the morale needed for the fight. Counterfeit “rights” are accepted by these individuals in place of true liberty.
a case study: the United States today
Citizens in the US are incrementally losing their personal liberties. The government at all levels (local, state and federal) is overreaching and trampling on true rights. The checks and balances in the system are only as good and effective as the people in government. In other words, bad people in government results in bad government. The nation’s courts, where redress from government abuse ought to be available, are now stacked with judicial activists and social engineers who abuse their role and seize more power for themselves while rubber stamping power grabs by the other branches of government. Presidents frequently issue executive orders, many of which are unconstitutional but which go unchallenged by the other branches. (If you are unhappy with some of Trump’s executive orders, Clinton, Bush Jr, and Obama before him were much worse abusers of such orders.) The Congress, which was intended to check abuses in the executive branch, has largely abdicated its responsibilities. The 2 major political parties are corrupt. The Democrats push a hard Left, statist agenda with the government controlling ever more aspects of our lives. The Republicans are not true conservatives. They are not an opposition party to the Left. Sorry to say that conservatism has not really been tried in the US. As well, conservatives have the wrong instrument, the wrong tool to fix the system in the Republican party.
Those who seek to destroy our liberty have powerful allies in the news media and in education here in the US. The news media is not engaged in reporting the news objectively and accurately. Those in the news media seek to shape public opinion and thus are in the business of propaganda. As well, they decide what gets reported (however misleadingly and slanted) and what never gets reported (suppressing inconvenient facts). As to education in the US, it is now and has been for some years largely indoctrination in the currently predominant paradigm. Yet, the goal of education is (or at least ought to be again) to teach students how to think independently and critically. We need young adults, and future leaders with these critical thinking skills to restore and then preserve our true freedoms. We do not need graduates who fit nicely into an insect colony (hive) group think mentality.
A corrupt system to be sure. Yet, under our system or form of government, ultimately the government we have is a reflection of ourselves (collectively). We have allowed this sorry state of affairs to come about. If it is not now already too late, it is only ourselves who could change the system. That will require more individuals, tens of millions more individuals consciously choosing to live with personal responsibility and working to curb government now, not years hence. We would have to recognize that we have to sacrifice and work together (even when we do not agree on every issue under the sun) to take back our country and restore our true liberties. Obviously, we have to vote out the vast majority of incumbent elected office holders and demand a dismantling and scaling back of much of the government’s bureaucratic machinery. We need to reject dependency on government. (Powerful special interests will work aggressively to thwart this.)
One thing that cannot be overlooked nor trivialized is that the family has come under attack in many ways in the past several decades. The nuclear family with both biological parents in the home is the basic social unit of society. When families are strong, there is greater harmony in society. We see more disharmony in society when families are broken or dissolved or do not form in the first place.
Looking back over my life, there has been much social and political turmoil in the US in the past several decades (beginning in the 1960s). It is difficult to be optimistic about the future. More collective insanity seems to be on the horizon. Are Americans up to living free any longer? A snapshot of the US today says no.
These are my thoughts as I reach for a glass of lemonade on this August day.
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